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  • Author or Editor: Victoria A. Sinclair x
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Victoria A. Sinclair

Abstract

A 6-yr climatology of the frequency, characteristics, and boundary layer structure of synoptic-scale fronts in Helsinki, Finland, was created using significant weather charts and observations from a 327-m-tall mast and from the Station for Measuring Ecosystem–Atmosphere Relationships III. In total, 855 fronts (332 cold fronts, 236 warm fronts, and 287 occluded fronts) affected Helsinki during the 6-yr period, equating to one front every 2.6 days. Seasonal and diurnal cycles were observed, with frontal frequency peaking during the cold season and during daytime. Composites of warm and cold fronts were developed to provide observationally based conceptual models of the low-level structure of fronts at the end of the North Atlantic Ocean storm track. The composite warm front displays a temperature increase of 4.0°C; a broad, forward-tilting frontal zone; and prolonged, weak-to-moderate precipitation. The composite cold front is characterized by a temperature decrease of 4.4°C, a narrow and slightly rearward-tilting frontal zone, and moderate precipitation collocated with the surface front. Relationships between frontal characteristics and the direction from which fronts approached, the season, time of day, prefrontal boundary layer lapse rate, and the location of the wind shift relative to the thermal gradient were investigated. The prefrontal lapse rate was the single most important variable in determining the temperature change, the height of the maximum temperature change, and the near-surface tilt of both warm and cold fronts. This result demonstrates the interaction between boundary layer and synoptic-scale processes that must be captured by numerical weather prediction models to accurately forecast surface fronts.

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Minttu Tuononen
,
Ewan J. O’Connor
,
Victoria A. Sinclair
, and
Ville Vakkari

Abstract

Over two years of meteorological observations from Utö, a small island in the Finnish outer archipelago in the Baltic Sea, were used to investigate the occurrence and characteristics of low-level jets (LLJs) and the diurnal and seasonal variations in these properties. An objective LLJ identification algorithm that is suitable for high-temporal-and-vertical-resolution Doppler lidar data was created and applied to wind profiles obtained from a combination of Doppler lidar data and two-dimensional sonic anemometer observations. This algorithm was designed to identify coherent LLJ structures and requires that they persist for at least 1 h. The long-term mean LLJ frequency of occurrence at Utö was 12%, the mean LLJ wind speed was 11.6 m s−1, and the vast majority of identified LLJs occurred below 150 m above ground level. The LLJ frequency of occurrence was much higher during summer (21%) and spring (18%) than in autumn (8%) and winter (3%). During winter and spring, the LLJ frequency of occurrence is evenly distributed throughout the day. In contrast, the LLJ frequency of occurrence peaks at night (1900–0100 UTC) during summer and during the evening hours (1700–1900 UTC) in autumn. The highest and strongest LLJs come from the southwest, which is also the predominant LLJ direction in all seasons. LLJs below 100 m are common in spring and summer, are weaker, and do not show a strong directional dependence.

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